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  1. Default An interesting read.........

    By Capt. Pat Damico, Fly Fishing Editor

    Posted 9.6.06

    A Successful Guided Fly Trip Begins With...

    Once or twice a week I have phone conversations with several guide friends who specialize in fly fishing. We share information about our most recent trips. After discussing the type and number of fish, where they were located, tide and weather conditions, moon phase, water temperature, the number of fish brought to the boat comes up. The client is then described as part of the answer. “The guy was a pleasure to be with, he didn’t listen to a single thing I told him, he kept telling me about his other successful trips, a real jerk, I took him back early, I spent most of the day giving him casting lessons, I made every cast for him, he hooked me twice,” etc. The movie, “A River Runs Through It,” has spawned a new breed of “fly fishers,” who ply the water in search of the many rewards of the sport. Experienced clients who we have never met are also anxious to put a few notches on their fly rods with a successful saltwater trip. As guides, we are supposed to be a part of the learning process. How can we make a clients trip an experience that they will enjoy?.

    My friends would all agree that success or failure will depend primarily on one thing, casting ability. All factors being equal, the person who can cast well will be successful. Eight hours is a long time to spend on a flats boat with someone who has poor casting skills. Can a person not cast well and be a successful fly fisherman? I guess that depends on how you define success. If success means catching fish, read on.

    I recently fished a trophy trout stream in northeastern Pennsylvania that was loaded with healthy, native trout. The stretch of water was limited to fly fishing only, from the bank, in very clear and for the most part relatively shallow water. The urban setting means that every day, all year long, these fish are bombarded with flies by some very astute anglers. The catch and release regulations mean that these fish have been caught many times. Are they difficult? They are for the most part, impossible

    I always advise doing a little research before doing any casting. I’ve spent many years fishing for freshwater trout so I gathered information from some friends who are frequent visitors, as well as from a few of the local experts. I saw a few fish caught and these are some of the requirements for success Six X, nine foot leaders with seven, or eight X, two to three foot tippets were used. Flies as small as size twenty-six, and twenty-eight were common. Some Tricos, were hatching and these were what was needed to successfully match the hatch. Many of the trout would sip these small natural morsels, refusing an imitation that was a little too large, the wrong color, had a floating leader, or exhibited a hint of unnatural drag. Many fish were caught within a few feet of the bank.

    As a certified casting instructor, the casting skills needed for this type of fishing blew my mind. Very few fisherman had more than two or three feet of fly line extending past the tip of their eight and a half or nine foot, four or five weight fly rod. Imagine doing this every trip and catching fish. Here we have a fly fisherman who has great skill in stream entomology, stealth, presentation and remarkable fly tying skills and consistently catches fish with only a few feet of fly line past the fly rod tip, using a very long fragile leader. The technique could be called “high sticking,” or “dabbling.” Casting skill is almost nonexistent. He is however, in the eyes of his piers, a master fly fisherman.

    Contrast this to a June trip scheduled to catch one hundred pound plus tarpon along our beaches where a twelve weight nine foot fly rod with a weight forward line attached to a 3/0 fly will have to be cast a minimum of fifty feet, quickly and accurately, usually in the wind, to a moving fish, with a minimum of false casting. I realize I am using two extreme examples, but they both are factual and do exist. If I take one of my best saltwater clients and put him in the above freshwater situation, what will his success rate be? Not very good Which is harder? They are both difficult, and herein lies the allure of fly fishing. If you want diversity, a challenge, a never ending learning curve, you picked the right sport. The successful freshwater angler will be a disaster in the salt. And this is the situation we frequently have to deal with.

    Get as much information before your trip into a different fishing environment and come prepared. Do your homework and be honest about your skills and experience. Your fly rod must be thought of as an instrument. An instrument performs only as well as the person holding it, and require hours of practice. Get some help from someone who is knowledgeable, do your homework, duplicate the fishing situation before you arrive, and you will have a successful trip.

  2. Default A Sucessful Guided Trip Begins With.......

    Although posted awhile ago, it seems appropriate to move this up in the forum because of recent activity.

  3. #3

    Default Re: An interesting read.........

    Very well put as a young boy growing up in the Northeast I understand what you are stating here. As my curiosity grew in this wonderful sport at about the age 8 or 9 I would walk down to the Broadheads creek and watch as the men would cast their flyrods ever so gracefully and put the fly infront of an unsuspecting trout and set the hook upon the rise and play them to the net and then return them to the water to fight another day. To me in order to be a master of the sport you first must master the cast.
    That is when one day I decided I would like to do this myself so I talked my parents in to buying me my first flyrod. Being of modest means we would scour yard sales and flea markets untill finaly we discovered one at a yard sale that was in good working order turned out to be a well kept 9' three piece Motague Sunbeam with a reel and line which I still have to this day. Upon getting home with my exciting find I put it together and marched to the back yard to try my hand at casting it. I failed at first trying to force the line through the guides but with practice and persistance learned it was a timing thing. Seeing in my mind the men at the stream casting helped me as well wasn't long before I could cast a gracefull loop about a month of practicing in the back yard as I would never shame myself at stream side with the other guy's watching. To that end casting is a very big part of this sport and much of the joy for me as I like to pursue fish in tough places where casting is the key to success... Nothing else comes close to seeing a huge spooky brown trout rising to a hatch 30 feet away under a over hanging tree and having the technique to get the fly to the fish....

    Practice Practice Practice ...........

    Allen Landheer
    Fly fishing is not for everyone..
    -Fly fishing since 1971-

  4. #4

    Default Re: An interesting read.........

    Your post clearly addresses one of the reasons this sport can become so intense and all-encompassing for some people... it can be so wide and varied in how it can be approached.
    Casting is such an intregal part of fly fishing that it behooves someone to practice and learn about as much as they can about a new technique, place or type of fly fishing before they take a trip. Vacations and trips aren't usually cheap and time isn't free for most people. Why not make the most of it and bone-up on what to expect well before boarding a plane?
    If you mainly puddle-jump pocket waters when fly fishing and are heading for the Keys or out west for the first time, get lessons or a good mentor who will help you cast and fish effeciently and effectively BEFORE you leave and your time spent away can and will be far more rewarding.
    Good topic.

    Practice, but practice good form and habits!

  5. Default Re: An interesting read.........

    I learned about dabbling for pocket water and steelhead fishing...I wanted to cast but my dad kept correcting me. Sure enough, his method worked, without casting! Wasn't quite as fun, though.

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